Transcending Trauma If I fall who will catch me?

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1 Transcending Trauma If I fall who will catch me? Patty Grant-Edgemon, LCSW, CSAC

2 Historical grief & trauma is: a cumulative and psychic wounding across generations related to massive root trauma. -Maria YellowHorse BraveHeart

3 Indian Country Indian Country 500 Years after the arrival of Columbus

4 Interruptions rooted in our history can interrupt our ability to be balanced human beings

5 Boarding Schools: set the stage for several generations to feel confused and frustrated At least 3 generations of Cherokees were forced to wear uniforms furnished by the government. Not allowed to speak their own language, practice any traditional ceremonies and were forced to suppress old ways and was severly punished if caught even remotely doing anything traditional. Did not learn Parenting Skills and some kids never returned home

6 Over 12,000 Native kids attended the Carlyle Pa. boarding school.

7 Boarding Schools Goal: In order to save the man we must kill the Indian By: General Richard Pratt. Acculturate : reject native culture, adopt European culture

8 Process of Assimilation and acculturation Confusion and feelings of displacement: living between two worlds, not fitting in anywhere. Children left intact emotionally, mentally, spiritually, grounded in their on personhood. Upon return to their communities they were broken, wounded, discounted, violent and angry. Feeling of disconnect no longer having a sense of place or belonging.

9 Trauma was experienced daily on multiple levels Boarding Schools: Experiences of being forced to reject the very essence of our being. Hearing messages that we were dirty savages and our ways would be beaten out us. Removal Act relocation of all Native Tribes East of the Mississippi. EBCI land base reduced from 40,000 miles to 56,000 sq. acres Total religious oppression: Forced to accept Christianity or be killed. Genocide: original holocaust Attempts to exterminate the Native Americans. Before Columbus Estimated btwn 50 to 100 million 1990:1,959,234 American Indians: Jack Utter

10 How does one deal with trauma, what are the coping skills just to survive? Poor affect tolerance: cannot deal with nor regulate emotions. The realization no one is coming to take you home. Ex: rageful, fear of crying, can t stop, laughing inappropriately to keep from losing control. Psychic numbing: shutting down, don t feel any emotions. Become desensitized to events. Hyper-vigilance: adrenaline high, questioning is it safe for me to be here, can I be myself? Substance abuse: ways to cope with trauma (numbing out). Fills the void of emptiness. Fixation to trauma: expecting trauma to happen looking for and may even create it. Depression: feeling hopeless, like nothing will change.

11 Continuing the Cycle of a self destructive lifestyle Leads To: Low Self-Esteem, Distorted World View and Negative self Image, poor judgement Experiences Divorce Death Domestic Violence 14 yr. Abandonment Neglect 12 yr. Racism Oppression 10 yr Abuse: Physical 8 yr Sexual Emotional 6 yr Mentally Verbally 4 yr Chemically Dependent Diabetes Smoking tobacco Violent/ Abusive DAD MOM 2 yr Birth Substance Abusing Peers Feelings Fear Shame Guilt Anger Resentment Hate

12 Transcending the Trauma What is Killing our People : Recognition Physical Emotional Social Pathologies DV, addictions Child/adult abuse Neglect, homicide, suicide Health issues TB, CVD, Diabetes, Cancer, Alcoholism, Obesity, HTN Spiritual Leadership misguided focus, vision set on material gain, division in community, family, greed, lost our direction Mental Poverty, Insufficient Resources, lack of housing for young families

13 Reposition our mental/emotional/spirit to address our traumas & release the energy that is keeps us stuck Broken Sacred Hoop Acknowledge the losses

14 Transcending requires action: Acknowledge the affects of the trauma Be willing to be vulnerable by addressing feelings and emotions connected to the experience/trauma Anger Hate Choose this way Resentment Fear Shame Guilt CHOICE

15 Make a conscious Choice to Release the energy that keeps you stuck: Your truth Releasing the negative energy that breaks your body down on many levels and cause health problems. Crying, screaming. Talking -Prayer Ceremony, dancing, Running, journaling Therapy, Meditation Church 12 Step Group Empowerment To be who the Creator created us to be in this universe. Yes we belong here.

16 Empowerment can be viewed as Transcending or coming fullcircle. Lifestyle reflects Interconnectedness Peace Contentment Unconditional Accepting A knowingness that Comes from the Creator Life that is whole, healthy, and balanced for generations to come sacred hoop

17 Healing with Dignity: With someone you trust Forgiving the Unforgivable: there is no wrong way to do this Courage: to forgive the perpetrators (ones that caused us harm). Willingness: to confront these feelings by being honest with self and then with others. Transformation: acceptance, knowing that change has occurred within me. Unification: of self, Spirit and the God of my understanding. Restoring relationships with family, community, and nation. Hope: recognizing that God s gift of love is available to all mankind. Restoring balance and harmony in all areas of my life.

18 Steps to Resolution within ourselves: Validate your trauma it is your truth, it happened and it affected you physically, emotionally and spiritually and I choose to let it go and claim my truth. Honor yourself as an adult, honor the child within and then surround yourself with others who honor you. Model the feelings and emotions to your children, grandchildren so they know it is ok to feel emotions. Create a safety net for those who are just now deciding they want to transcend beyond their trauma.

19 Witness and Experience Transformation Through Forgiveness

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